The Indianapolis Colts are the NFL world’s favorite early pick for breakout team this season.
Thanks to a solid offseason that saw them beef up their offense to support Andrew Luck heading into his fourth season, the Colts figure to make their way back to the AFC Championship game, if not further, this season.
Of course, the big part of that draw is Luck himself. Everyone is waiting to watch Luck catapult himself into the NFL’s elite this season, and that expectation was what drew in the Colts’ two biggest additions in free agency: Andre Johnson and Frank Gore.
Both Johnson and Gore – 13- and 11-year veterans, respectively -have cited Luck as part of the reason they chose to sign with Indianapolis this offseason. And the early reports from both are that they love playing with Luck.
Frank Gore said on “The Jim Rome Show” that Luck is a “football god”:
“He runs meetings like a coach. Basically, I’m playing with a coordinator on the field. He’s a football god. He sees everything. He sees the big picture of everything … He lets me know when (there is) something I don’t see. He’s just different. How he’s in the huddle, off the field, in the meetings, he runs it. He runs the show. Even in the offseason, he ran it. One day he had running backs. The next day he has receivers. He’s just different. He’s a football god.”
It’s not the first time Gore has discussed Luck. Early in training camp, Gore told NFL Media’s Nate Burleson he thinks this year’s Colts could be the best offense he’s played in:
“I think if we keep working and keep going and get that gelled, I think by far it can. Especially with No. 12, man. I’m not knocking my other quarterbacks. I respect them other guys, but being around this guy a couple months – he’s a different breed. He’s smart. He makes me feel young. He runs the huddle. I never had that.”
In June, Andre Johnson told reporters that he thinks Luck is the best quarterback in the NFL. Later, during training camp, Johnson told Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy why he signed with the Colts, and how impressed he’s been with Luck:
“That was a big part of my decision this offseason, when I became a free agent, just going to a place that had an established quarterback and a great quarterback. That’s a reason why I came here. … He’s very smart. When I first got here, you would think he’s been in the league for 10-12 years. He has a lot of experience even though he’s been in the league for a short period of time. Those are some of the things that stand out. Once you get on the field with him, he’s very prepared. He’s a hands-on guy. He can tell you how he wants things, stuff like that.”
Both figure to benefit from having Luck around. Johnson has never played with an elite quarterback, so, even at 34 years old, he should have a strong season catching passes from Luck. Gore, like Johnson, should also keep up his productivity, even at 32 years old, thanks to the attention defenses will give the Colts’ passing game.
However, even opponents have raved about playing against Luck. During joint practices with the Chicago Bears, several Bears heaped praise at Luck. Safety Antrel Rolle said:
“He’s one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He’s very wise beyond his age. He runs a very efficient offense. He’s very great at looking off defenders, and he’s very poised with his decision-making. He’s a hell of a quarterback.”
Andrew Luck is coming for the NFL, and Colts players and opponents alike are excited about it.